Interview with Dan Allan
Q. What is your name?
A. Daniel Frank Allan
Q. Do you have any nicknames?
A. Dan, Danny- Only my wife and my cricket team calls me Danny
Q. Tell us a bit about your family history...
A. I am a Christchurch boy. My Mother's side of the family sailed to Lyttelton on the Eastern Flyer, and there is speculation that the Taylor, of Taylor's mistake was my great (x3) grandfather. Dad's family was from Scotland, and sailed into Nelson on the Lady Nugent, settling in Collingwood. Dad's dad was a scrapper and a drinker who distinguished himself in WW1, disembarking from the Collingwood wharf. It's sort of fitting that I have divided my adult life between Christchurch and Nelson. I consider myself a true Pakeha, from a colonial lineage but engaged in Aotearoa's bi-cultural condition.
Q. What training/ experiences led you to performance?
A. I have no formal Drama qualifications but learned by doing. The stage has been my turangawaewae from a young age. Between 2002 and 2009 I was part of the Court Jesters company which was formative, training and performing improvisation on a weekly basis, engaging in the human science of comedy. My mentor for many years was Patrick Duffy. Another hugely inspirational and formative learning was a month-long intensive in physical theatre with the ZenZenZo company in Brisbane, 2009.
Q. This play is about a mountain, do you have a connection to mountains?
A. My dad was a mountain man and he was always taking us into the mountains, but I must admit that growing up in suburban Christchurch my idea of normal is the plains. And mountains are a special treat. I have many lovely memories of days climbing hills to enjoy the view from the top. One mountain I've always been captivated by is Mitre Peak. The sight of that from Milford is a bit magic.
Q. How do you feel about the current state of our world?
A. Our world is out of balance because of humanity's proliferation, and economically motivated behaviours, but I believe in humanity, and am hopeful we can turn it around and get back the balance. My Utopia is a place where we are living in harmony with nature and using policies of love, restraint and patience. Humans are pretty awesome when we put our minds to something. But my thoughts are human-centric. I'm pretty sure if we can't sort ourselves out, Papatuanuku will have the final say.
Q. Do you have any comments around the themes of the play?
A. This play talks to the unseen connections between people and the Earth. It might inspire you to think about destiny vs control, and that is something that I know runs through the playwright's life and works. It's also grounded in Aotearoa, where the mountains have personal histories, and I hope it makes people more curious about that, and proud to live in this amazing little energy centre, and keen to look after it.